From Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
First, I’ve gotten a lot of emails inquiring about former University of Minnesota right wing Blake Wheeler’s plans. I talked to the Wild this morning, and the team did have conversations with Wheeler’s agent, Matt Keator.
However, I called Keator today, and while Wheeler hasn’t closed the door on the Wild, he has narrowed his choices down to teams that do not include the Wild.
“He loves Minnesota and loves living there, but we’re looking elsewhere because I think he wants to get a different life experience, explore a different part of the country and grow and mature and experience new things,” Keator said. “The Wild has shown plenty of interest. They’ve been great.
“But this is a special opportunity to choose where he wants to play and live. Blake has a chance to select where he’s going to play, live and work. Most guys have to wait until they’re 27, 28, 29, 30 to become free agents. This guy’s 21 years old and making this decision.”
Read the entire entry from Russo’s Rants here.
I have to admit, this is rather surprising news. I was under the impression that the Wild would be one of the favorites to acquire Wheeler’s services. Apparently that is not the case.
On another note, if you read closely, Wheeler’s agent says that his player wants to experience a different part of the country. I take that to mean that he is most likely staying inside the United States, which crosses all the Canadian teams pursuing his rights off the list.
With all that has gone on with Wheeler’s decision to pick the team he wants to play with, I can’t say I’m not interested to see where the youngster lands.